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Cablegate: Machar Expects September 6 Meeting with Lra

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1794
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
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UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001336

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ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: MACHAR EXPECTS SEPTEMBER 6 MEETING WITH LRA

1. (SBU) Summary: In an August 28 meeting with ConGen Juba, GOSS
Vice President Riek Machar expressed his confidence that LRA Leader
Joseph Kony would meet him in Rikwangba on September 6 to discuss
the Juba Peace Agreement. Machar thought it possible Kony would
sign the agreement on that day, although he did not have Kony's
commitment to do so. Despite Machar's confidence, others, including
UNMIS, tell ConGen Juba they remain skeptical an agreement will ever
be signed by Kony. End summary.

2. (SBU) ConGen Juba met GOSS VP and Chief Mediator for the LRA
Peace Talks Riek Machar on August 28 to discuss the latest
developments in the LRA peace talks. A meeting with Kony had been
planned in Rikwangba on August 24, and Machar explained that date
had fallen through due to miscommunications within the SPLA. He
claimed that SPLA units, not properly informed of the gathering,
opened fire on advance LRA units on August 22, and they returned
fire. Both sides then fell back with no reported casualties on
either side.

3. (SBU) Machar said that Kony was advised of the reasons for the
misunderstanding and accepted to reset the meeting for September 6.

4. (SBU) ConGen asked Machar if he really thought Kony would show up
on September 6 given his failure to appear at numerous, previously
scheduled meetings.. In addition to this, Kony's paranoia was
legendary and his troops had just been in a fire fight with the
SPLA. In reply, Machar expressed confidence that this time Kony
would actually come. Asked why he was so sure, Machar answered that
according to his sources, many northern Ugandans who had opposed the
peace deal now understood that it was a good deal for them and were
pressing Kony to sign. In addition, Kony was no longer asking for
any food or support as a precondition, and he understood the
agreement better now that he had had time to study it for himself.
Particularly on the issue of the ICC indictments, the recent move to
indict GNU President Omar al Bashir had, according to Machar, caused
Kony to realize that he was in a stronger position than Bashir to
deal with the ICC, since the Juba Peace Agreement called for a
deferment of his indictments so he could face justice in Uganda.

5. (SBU) Asked who would be going to Rikwangba on September 6,
Machar said he would, along with UN representatives (including UN
Special Envoy Joaquim Chisanno), Government of Uganda
representatives, and, he hoped, members of the monitoring group.

6. (SBU) Machar admitted that currently the September 6 meeting was
set only to discuss the Juba Peace Agreement, but he said he thought
the chances were good that Kony would sign it. Kony understood now
that if he signed, an implementation period would follow in which he
could verify that peace agreement conditions were being met before
he would be required to lay down his arms.

7. (SBU) Comment: September 6 is the latest in a series of proposed
meetings with Kony dating back to April, and ConGen Juba shares
widespread skepticism outside of VP Machar's office that the elusive
LRA leader will finally show up. Increasingly, those outside of
Machar's office are talking of "Plan B," to go after Kony
militarily. The problem is, Kony will be a hard man to catch, even
with the forces of South Sudan, Uganda and the DRC in combined
pursuit. He has a large area in which to operate and has proven
himself adept at avoiding capture while terrorizing local
populations and wreaking general havoc.

FERNANDEZ

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